This is a really killer video by Pavel, who you should know as the founder of the RKC Kettlebell Instructor Certification, and more recently the SFG Kettlebell, Barbell, and Bodyweight Instructor Certifications.
It's a really great point on the difference between workouts and practice for strength.
But you should be asking yourself – how does that apply to fat loss?
It's exactly the same thing.
You can go to any BodyPump class and see that percieved exertion level (everyone in class "feels the burn" and is dripping with sweat by the end) has virtually nothing to do with who's got the best body.
The people who are the leanest and hottets are always the strongest in whatever rep ranges they are training in.
And this is where I would make a break from traditional strength training that lives in the 1-5 rep range. In fat loss, we want to train in the 1-5 rep range, but we also want to train in higher rep ranges like 20 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, 12 reps, ect. We get the best results when we change that on a monthly basis.
So if that month we're training in the 12 rep range, we actually want to get as strong as possible, in that rep range, that month.
Getting stronger in the 12 rep range is more important than how much sweat or puke we leave on the gym floor.
And then the next month, when we're working in the 8 rep range, guess what the most important thing still is? Yep, you guessed it, it's getting stronger in that rep range.
Intensity as a Fat Loss Tool
Circuits and intensity actually does work really well for fat loss. In the short term. It's a quick fix. And hell, we all know how popular quick fixes can be.
It's just a very short road. People either plateau pretty quickly, if that's all that they do.
High intensity circuits can be used on a rotating basis (come in and out at programmed intervals) or they can be held back as a secret weapon for when you need a short term boost. Either way works awesomely.
In the long term, the answer is still to move through multiple rep ranges and get stronger in each one. Advanced fat loss programs will actually combine multiple rep ranges and get you stronger in multiple rep ranges simultaneously – we call that undulating periodization. But that's for another post.
Right now, just worry about if you're getting stronger.
Every month you should:
- Work within a pre-programmed rep range.
- By the end of each month, you need to be stronger in that rep range.
- When that rep range comes around again (if you're on a three month or six month meso-cycle of workouts), you should be able start that phase from a stronger place than you started the last time.
It's simple stuff, but that's what a good fat loss workout looks like.
by Josh Hillis, NASM-CPT, PES, CES
author of The 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge
and The Stubborn Seven Pounds: How to go from Good to Rockstar
and System Six: Easy Fat Loss